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Ann Lochead

Doctor of Philosophy, (English)
Study Completed: 2013
College of Humanities & Social Sciences


Thesis Title
Moral Uncertainty and Contemporary Children's Fantasy Fiction

Read article at Massey Research Online: MRO icon

Since ancient times symbolic stories have transmitted social values as fictional characters engage audiences in identifiable moral struggles. Moreover, the interplay between story and ethics is dynamic as values are not only reproduced but also produced in symbolic stories. Contemporary children’s fantasy fiction is often characterised by its moral uncertainty. Ms Lochead argued that this characteristic of postmodern fantasy reflects our society’s ethical anxieties. This distinguishes it from previous generations of children’s literature and indicates a significant shift from the greater moral certainty (anchored in religion and humanism) of the past. Ms Lochead examined this evolution, comparing contemporary children’s fantasies with earlier literary texts. Her research affirms fantasy fiction’s role of exploring ethical meaning and transmitting values in the face of pervasive moral confusion. Weaving ethical philosophy through her analysis, she contended that the very uncertainty that threatens to undo ethical values contains the potential for a deeply moral life.

Associate Professor Joe Grixti
Associate Professor Jenny Lawn

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